The funny thing about rejections is that they have a way of overwhelming everything else. Over the last few days, I’ve written an article that went through without needing a single clarification. Not just that, the article will also have photos taken by me. It’s a crap publication and the photos are extremely non-descript but what the heck. Almost everyone I’ve written to with a casual enquiry about whether they know of any vacancies that might work for me has written back encouragingly. It’s a nice feeling and an enormous relief because while there are no actual offers yet, there is the possibility of a job in the horizon.
When I was choosing my O level subjects at the age of 15, my mother had begged and pleaded me to take Economics (I was joyfully junking every science and number-centric subject and was furious when my principal insisted that I keep Maths. “It’s a basic skill,” she said. “It’s a basic skill I don’t have,” I argued. “That’s why you need to study it till you’re 16,” she replied. Dominating dolt of a woman. Hmph). My mother was petrified of my ridiculous, single-minded focus upon studying English Literature. “What job will you get after reading story books for years?” she’d constantly say, only partially in jest. “Keep Economics. There’s no harm in keeping a façade of being employable.” Hence, my relief when I am considered for a job that comes with a decent salary. The books that I’ve read, the years that I’ve spent trying to learn how to write, the hours I’ve spent rewriting; everything seems vindicated when someone writes back one line, “Send me your CV.”
Then today, hot on the heels of affirmation, came a rejection. Suddenly, this one rejection is all that matters. Everything else, all the articles accepted, all the pats on the back, they’ve all gone poof! All that remains is this resounding middle finger salute. It’s not just that the piece I wrote seems to have disappeared but the editor isn’t even responding to my emails. Not the ones asking about my piece, not the ones pitching a new story. It’s like I’ve ceased to exist as far as this publication is concerned and this stings all the more because dammit all, I read this publication avidly. I was hoping against hope to see my name among the list of contributors but, despite the fact that I was commissioned to write an article that was subsequently (brusquely) accepted, I’m not there and neither is my article. Reading the names that have made the cut feels like Chinese water torture done with acid instead of H2O. I’m going to read every single article and wonder if I could have written them better, find flaws, ponder about what has been ignored, sit on my hands to prevent my sending out a “Just saw it! Congratulations!” email, and keep remembering that I wasn’t good enough. And that I probably should have listened to my mother and studied Economics. Bottomline: I’m gutted.
Soon after I dunked myself in the paddle pool of depression, the mysterious workings of the Interweb delivered an email. The subject read “I Heart Guts.” Gmail really is intuitive, I thought, and clicked on the link, bringing me face to face with a cuddly, furry version of a purple kidney. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really imagined my bodily organs as plush toys. However, I would like to hope that mine are as humorous and punny as these.
The organs don’t just have smiley faces and a sort of disco-dancer feel to them, but they also have catchphrases. Like, “All You Need is Lobe” (Brain), “When Urine Love” (Kidney), “Womb Service” (Uterus), “Ova Achiever” (Ovary), “Having a Ball” (Testicle), “Gland of Milk & Honey” (Mammary), “I’m a Liver Not a Fighter” (Liver), and “Don’t Hold Your Breath” (Lung). I personally felt a certain fondness for the Immense Intestine’s cheery, “Go With Your Gut“, especially as I imagined the blue and pink plush organ inside me, swelling up with the quiche, cheese croissant, french beans with garlic and hakka noodles that I binged on to numb the hurt of rejection.
Maybe I should have some green tea.
You, on the other hand, should spend some time with all the plush organs here.